What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
One of the greatest challenges for small nonprofits is the ability to secure long-term funding. Champions has developed a comprehensive fundraising strategy of three tiers: individual donations, government grants, and private partnerships. Implementing this strategy ensures diverse sources of sustainable funding, enabling Champions to make its vision become a reality. Because Champions fundraising takes place in the U.S. but its activities take place in Guatemala, this strategy does not conform to a standard model. Keeping children out of violent, gang activity and helping them become contributing members of their communities is in the interest of the Guatemalan people and in the interest of the U.S., whose foreign policy promotes stability within democratic countries.
Another barrier is implementing evidence-based practice to achieve desired outcomes, as poorly planned mentorship programs have proven unsuccessful. Champions will overcome this challenge through its dependency on the organization’s model. It is roughly based on the structure of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in the U.S., which has a long track record of proven success in improving long-term outcomes for camp participants. Champions leadership has developed relationships with FCA leaders and received counsel on organizational development. At the same time, Champions has created plans that expand on and adapt the FCA model to better meet the needs of Guatemala’s youth.
Tell us about your partnerships
Champions was created with a focus and dependency upon partnership. To achieve holistic transformation in the lives of the youth, partnership is essential. Champions has forged partnerships in the public, private and nonprofit sectors in both the U.S. and Guatemala.
Champions actively pursues partnerships with Guatemalan churches and NGO’s in Guatemala City to identify eligible mentors and youth. After successfully completing three camps, Champions has worked with over 20 different organizations in fulfillment of its vision.
As an advocate for its mentors and youth, Champions has built many private and public partnerships to offer job opportunities, customized educational development, sport development, and spiritual and emotional development.
Finally, Champions has built relationships with hundreds of individuals, organizations, and churches who have provided over $100,000 of funding to launch the initiative.
Some of the leading partnerships include:
Fondo Unido of Guatemala (United Way), Guatemala Embassy in the U.S., U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, Transactel, Grupo Ceiba, Compassion Guatemala, RTI International, Mis Pequeños Hermanos, Reparando, and POPECA (Prince of Peace Evangelical Church Association).
Explain your selections
Champions has received over $100,000 of direct financial support from its Board of Directors, volunteers, individuals, churches, and other organizations in the U.S.
Champions has received over $10,000 of in-kind donations from multiple non-profits, private companies, and individuals in both the U.S. and Guatemala. This does not include the countless hours donated by volunteers in both countries. In the U.S., Champions is operated entirely by volunteers.
Champions has recently been awarded a grant of $150,000 from Fondo Unido of Guatemala (United Way) to be implemented in October of 2011.
How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
Champions strives to improve the program through the 12-month vision of implementing a rigorous monitoring and evaluation system. Through data analysis, Champions will continuously adapt to strengthen both the camp experience and mentorship process for the youth, mentors, staff, and volunteers from the U.S. and Guatemala. Evaluating the program will assist the U.S. and Guatemala teams in collaborating to develop newer, innovative approaches to increase both the reach of the program and the impact on the well being of the Guatemalan youth and their communities. Champions will maintain a visible presence through ongoing activities to involve the parents and facilitate mentor-youth relationship development such as guest speakers, tickets to sporting events, lock-ins, and other relevant youth activities.
In addition to its international mission, Champions also looks to impact the lives of Americans through short-term missions opportunities. Champions will provide U.S. citizens the opportunity to experience a developing country, while making an positive impact on some of the most at-risk members of society. Furthermore, Champions is creating specific opportunities for at-risk youth in the U.S. inner cities. This domestic activity enables Champions to serve a dual purpose of investment in the lives of at-risk youth abroad and at home.